Mount Baldy is one of the first mountains on your left as you drive down High 40 into Kananaskis. It makes it a really quick, and easy hike to get to. Which made me wonder why there was barely anyone on the trail.

The answer came pretty quick; if you are afraid of heights, not comfortable with traversing climbs, and scrambling don’t do this hike. If you do proceed, this hike is really what makes one like hiking all about.

Getting There

Leaving from Calgary or Banff take Trans Canada Highway 1 to Kananaskis Trail Highway 40. You won’t belong on this road as the trailhead located just on the side of the road past the Barrier Lake turnoff. It is nicely marked on Google Maps with a little gravel parking for about a dozen cars. Finding parking if it is busy gets more tricky, and there are also other Baldy Pass Trail markings on the map. Just go to this one.

The Hike

If you had your fair share of play time in Kananaskis then you must have realized that pretty much all the hikes on East side of Highway 40 start straight up hill. Mount Baldy hike is no different.

Leaving the parking lot you will climb on to a little plateau, and soon enough you will come to a Y intersection where you will choose left. In a couple minutes you will start marching into the trees, and up the steep trail. This part of the trail is fairly easy to follow until you get higher up. Winter time requires more trail finding but just remember to keep going up, and you will run into a trail if you think you are lost. You can’t go too far before edging out.

Clearing the trees leads you to your first important choice: scramble up or go around. This is important as we didn’t know the going around part was an option, and we didn’t see the trail at all. If you choose to scramble you will essentially have an exposed section that you will have to go down, then keep scrambling up. The exposed section freaked me out a little, as there is very little margin to error here. I would not recommend it if the rock is wet, icy or snowy. Go back, and find the trail that goes around or to the right if you are coming up.

If you climb through this section you will have another option to meet up with the trail to the right to go around the next, bigger section which I recommend. Climbing up this lookout is steep, and you have to be very confident in you placement. Going around gives you a little more of a hike but also opens up beautiful views of the valley below, and the peak across.  You can go back to this lookout point before the final zig zag push up or on your way down:

The final ascend is a series of switchbacks on shale, and rocks. This is you last steep push to false summit which right by the summit. Be careful here, and be cognitive if there are people above because you don’t want rocks being kicked down at you. The best part of this Mount Baldy hike is the 360 views from the top. Because Mount Baldy is as the edge of the Rockies you get to see where the prairie meets the mountains, and the rest of the Kananaskis valley.

There is plenty of space to hang out, and take it all in. For the average hiker I will not recommend to keep going over the edge to the next summit, and without ropes.

Probably the reason we enjoyed this hike so much is because we took out time, adventured around with some climbs, and relaxed enjoying the views at the top. Have fun with this trail, be safe, and as always check the weather before you attempt during the shoulder seasons.

Distance: 8km

Elevation: 800m

Difficulty: Advanced to Difficult.

Time: 5-6 hours.

Season: End of March to early November should be doable depends on snow fall.

Dog Friendly: Yes for the fit! There is no water on the trail so you will have to pack for your pups.


Spread the love